Desi Style 3 Course Meal Recipes for Dinner Parties

Dinner parties may seem stressful but making a three-course Desi style meal using our recipes will make it easy and will definitely impress your guests.

Desi Style 3 Course Meal Recipes for Dinner Parties - f

It is one to start off your guests as it is a light dish and is easy to make.

Hosting dinner parties is a good way of socialising with friends while also impressing them with your culinary skills.

However, a lot of people choose to avoid them for a number of reasons, the main one being that they are stressful.

People have a hard time deciding what to make which can become a lot of effort, especially when trying to show off your cooking skills.

But when following a helpful guide, that stress goes away. A dinner party does not need to be complicated.

Sharing delicious food and drink with several of your closest friends will be worth the time.

These simple Desi-style dishes will promise great flavours and give you a chance to talk instead of being in the kitchen all the time.

There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to suit all diet preferences and will ensure an easy evening for you.

These specially selected recipes will help you create an authentic three-course Desi meal to encourage your guests to definitely indulge in the variety of flavours!


This is for those who enjoy the hearty textures of meat and are full of intense flavours.

Starter Option 1 – Bhuna Masala Chicken Wings

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for a Dinner Party - wings

This chicken starter option may have originated in New York but this one has had a Desi makeover.

Tender chicken wings have been coated in a luscious batter with dry red chillies, tomatoes and cumin seeds.

It is one to start off your guests as it is a light dish and is easy to make.

It is advised to prepare them one day in advance so that the marinade is fully absorbed in the chicken wings.

This truly is a delicious starter dish in which East meets West.


  • ½ kg chicken wings
  • 2 Onions, finely julienned
  • 3 Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Pepper, finely julienned
  • 1½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 Dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ cumin powder
  • ½ Lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp refined oil


  1. Marinate the wings with olive oil, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder.
  2. Season with salt and refrigerate overnight.
  3. When ready to use, heat a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil and sear the wings in it.
  4. Remove and set aside.
  5. For the masala, heat a pan and add dry chilli, cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
  6. Lightly sauté and add the chicken to the pan.
  7. Add onions and fry until golden brown.
  8. Add tomatoes and cook for three minutes until softened. Then add sugar, water, lime and pepper. Mix well and cook for three minutes.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with fresh raita.

This recipe was adapted from NDTV Food.

Starter Option 2 – Lamb Seekh Kebabs

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for Dinner Parties - lamb seekh

Lamb seekh kebabs are another non-vegetarian starter option to go for if you want your guests to experience rich flavours from the beginning.

It is a light dish, but also has intense flavours such as spice coming from each kebab.

The dish does not even take long and will give your guests a taste of what else is to come from the other courses.

Ideally, pair it with a crisp salad to provide a contrast of textures or a refreshing raita to cool the palate.


  • 1 kg lean minced lamb
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp green chilli paste
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • A handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Place the lamb mince into a large bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with your hands.
  3. When mixed, begin pressing down on the meat as you knead it.
  4. Knead for five minutes until the texture becomes soft and finer.
  5. Form into kebab shapes. If using skewers, squeeze the meat onto them.
  6. Place into a grill and cook for 15 minutes, turning regularly until cooked through.
  7. Remove from the grill and serve.

This recipe was adapted from Great Curry Recipes.

Main Course Option 1 – A Simple Fish Curry

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for a Dinner Party - fish

Now that the starter is finished and it is time for the main course, what better way to impress guests than a simple fish curry.

The soft, light fish is the perfect contrast to the chicken to give your guests a wider variety of textures.

It is full of flavour and not too spicy to suit those who are not fans of spicy food.

The best thing is that you can use whatever fish you prefer, though it is recommended to go for a fish with firm white flesh, like cod.


  • 500g fish
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 Medium onions, sliced
  • 2 Medium tomatoes
  • 1¼ Cup of water
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 Sprig curry leaves
For the marinade
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Mix the fish with the marinade ingredients and set aside until needed.
  2. Fry the onions in a pan until lightly golden. Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften.
  3. Add the cashews, fennel seeds, red chilli powder and turmeric. Cook until the mixture becomes fragrant.
  4. Leave to cool and blend into a paste. If needed, add two tablespoons of water to blend well.
  5. Meanwhile, sear the fish on both sides until the raw smell goes away.
  6. In another pan, add oil to a pan and add cumin to it. When they sizzle, fry onions, curry leaves and green chillies until the onions become golden.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for one minute.
  8. Add the paste, red chilli powder and garam masala. Fry until it becomes aromatic.
  9. Pour the water and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
  10. Gently add the fish and cook on a medium heat.
  11. Flip the fish to ensure both sides are cooked through.
  12. Garnish with coriander and serve to your guests with rice and naan.

This recipe was adapted from Swasthi.

Main Course Option 2 – Chicken Methi

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for Dinner Parties - methi

The light starter paves way for this richly flavoured main course. Methi chicken has a beautiful earthy flavour which is lifted with the slight tang from the yoghurt.

While it is thick and creamy, it is not a heavy dish.

The fresh fenugreek leaves have a hint of bitterness which compliments the rest of the spices well.

It will be one your guests will love as it is in the middle of tomato-based sauces and creamy sauces when it comes to curry.

Cook in advance as it is a dish which takes time but will be worth it.


  • Vegetable oil
  • 6 Chicken thighs, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 Tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 Green chillies, chopped
  • 150ml water
  • 2 Bunches methi (fenugreek) leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When sizzling, add onion and fry until golden brown.
  2. Add ginger, garlic and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander seeds, green chilli and salt.
  4. Mix the yoghurt and water together then pour into the pan. Cover and cook for five minutes.
  5. Add the methi leaves and stir well. Cook for a few minutes.
  6. Stir in the chicken pieces and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked.
  7. Increase the heat and stir continuously to thicken the sauce and stir fry the chicken.
  8. Remove from the heat, stir in the garam masala and serve with roti, naan or rice.

This recipe was inspired by Hari Ghotra.


For those who are vegetarian or who have guests that are, this is the guide for you.

Starter Option 1 – Mixed Vegetable Pakoras

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for a Dinner Party - pakora

This simple snack is an all-time favourite throughout India and guarantees to be enjoyed by your guests.

There are endless variations which use a range of vegetables in a light, crispy batter which has a burst of flavour in each mouthful.

It is a perfect appetizer for any type of gathering, including dinner parties. For that extra flavour, pair it with a chutney of your choice.

The sweetness from the chutney is the perfect compliment to the spices of the pakoras.


  • 1 Cup potato, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Cup cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 2 Green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 Cup cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1½ Cup gram flour
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground
  • ½ tsp mango powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, to fry


  1. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, green chillies and oil to the dry mixture. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. When ready to make the pakoras, if the mix is too dry add one to two teaspoons of water.
  4. Heat one inch of oil in a frying pan. To test, put a little batter in the oil. The batter should come up and not change colour instantly.
  5. Create small to medium sized pakoras and place into the oil. Do not overlap them.
  6. Fry in small batches. Press lightly after turning them.
  7. This will take six minutes per batch. Turn occasionally until both sides are golden brown.
  8. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
  9. The pakoras are ready to serve.

This recipe was inspired by Manjula’s Kitchen.

Starter Option 2 – Paneer Tikka Skewers

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for Dinner Parties - paneer tikka

While many would think paneer dishes would be heavy especially as a starter, this particular dish proves otherwise.

It is the perfect dish to start off dinner parties as it brings a wide variety of flavours.

The creamy cheese blends well with the smoky mixed vegetables for a delicious starter.

This vegetarian starter is a light dish and has a depth of texture.

Eat it with a mango salsa to give a hint of sharpness to the mild dish, making it even tastier.


  • 450g paneer, cubed
  • 2 Small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 150g yoghurt
  • 1 Red pepper, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp instant tandoori paste
  • 4 Limes, 3 juiced, 1 cut into wedges
  • 1 Mango, diced
  • 1 Avocado, diced
  • Mint leaves, chopped
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. In a bowl, mix yoghurt with tandoori paste, one tablespoon lime juice and season with salt.
  3. Add the paneer and gently stir to combine.
  4. Put the paneer onto metal skewers, alternating with onion and pepper.
  5. Place on a tin foil lined baking tray and grill for 10 minutes, turning halfway through until the paneer becomes
  6. hot and the vegetables soften and slightly char.
  7. To make the salsa, mix the mango, avocado, mint and lime juice together.
  8. Take the skewers out and serve.

Main Course Option 1 – Matar Paneer

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for a Dinner Party - paneer

Matar paneer is the ideal main course to have after the vegetable pakoras as it has a much richer texture to provide the palate with some variety.

It is one of the most well-known paneer dishes and is a plethora of flavour, combining a slight acidity of the tomatoes with the creamy paneer.

The great thing about making it for a dinner is that it only takes 25 minutes which gives you the chance to converse with your guests.

Pair it with a soft naan or roti, the choice is yours. One thing for certain is that your guests will love it.


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Two packets of cubed paneer
  • 1 Can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Green chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 1½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the paneer and fry until they become golden brown.
  2. Remove from the heat and drain on kitchen paper.
  3. In the same pan, add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, coriander powder and chilli powder.
  4. Fry for one minute or until the spices become fragrant.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook until they become soft.
  6. Simmer for five minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of water.
  7. Season with salt and add the peas. Simmer for two minutes.
  8. Add the paneer and stir gently to coat in the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle the garam masala, stir and garnish with coriander.

Main Course Option 2 – Chola Bhatura

Desi Style 3 Course Meal Recipes for Dinner Parties - cholay bhature

It is an extremely popular Desi dish which can be prepared for any occasion, like dinner parties.

Hailing from Punjab, this simple vegetarian recipe is the perfect blend of spices which are easily available in your kitchen.

Making the bhatura you need to make sure your oil is at the right temperature. Avoiding that they are not overcooked and overly too crispy. A mildly soft centre and a fluffy texture are desired.

If you are someone who loves spicy food then this is the dish for you. You can accompany the dish with fresh green chillies too for an extra kick.

Prepare this mouth-watering dish for your guests and will relish it to the fullest.

It is a light, simple dish which promises heaps of flavour and will leave your guests satisfied.


  • 1 Cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • ½ Large tomato, chopped
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • 2 Curry leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ tsp onion paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chana masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
For the Dough
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp yoghurt
  • 2 tsp refined oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tbsp wheat flour


  1. Add chickpeas to a saucepan with water and salt. Bring to the boil.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, curry leaves and onion. Fry until onion becomes golden-brown.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and onion paste. Cook until the raw smell goes away then add the tomato.
  4. When the oil separates, add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and chana masala. Cook for two minutes.
  5. Add the chickpeas with a splash of water. Stir well to combine and cook for a few minutes.
  6. To make the bhaturas (puris), combine all-purpose flour and wheat flour in a dough kneading plate.
  7. Add salt and oil. Mix well.
  8. Add yoghurt in the flour mixture and knead well.
  9. Transfer to a plastic bag and roll to remove excess air. Tie it and keep aside for six hours.
  10. Heat oil in a kadhai on high flame. Make sure the oil is piping hot, not just warm.
  11. Take equal quantities of the dough and roll large-sized puris.
  12. Carefully place the puris into the oil and fry.
  13. Once done, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper, and repeat depending on how many you want to make.
  14. Serve with the sliced red onions, lemon and chopped tomatoes on the side.

This recipe was inspired by Times of India food.

Dessert Option 1 – Kulfi

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for a Dinner Party - kulfi

An ideal dessert option is Kulfi, the classic Indian ice-cream with a silky smooth texture, what is not to love about it.

While the correct way is to simmer milk for hours, there will be no time to make it and host a dinner party.

Not to worry, the same effect can be achieved in far less time using condensed milk instead.

It is advised to prepare in advance of the dinner party so that it is ready at the right time.

While there are a number of delicious flavours to make such as mango, this pistachio kulfi recipe is a classic flavour and the perfect way to end a meal.


  • 1 Litre full-fat milk
  • 200ml condensed milk
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, chopped
  • 3 tbsp pistachios, grounded
  • 10 Strands saffron


  1. Place a heavy bottom saucepan on a medium heat. Add the full-fat milk and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove two tablespoons of the milk from the pan and place in a bowl.
  3. Soak the saffron strands in it and set aside.
  4. As the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, constantly stirring with a silicone spatula.
  5. Cook the milk for 10 minutes until it reduces and has a thick consistency.
  6. Add the condensed milk and quickly stir to mix completely.
  7. Add the soaked saffron to the milk and mix well.
  8. Stir in the grounded pistachio and cardamom powder.
  9. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
  10. Pour into airtight moulds and freeze for four to six hours.
  11. Remove from the freezer five minutes before serving.
  12. Unmold the kulfi and serve with chopped pistachios.

This recipe was inspired by Rachna’s Kitchen.

Dessert Option 2 – Rasmalai

A Desi-style 3 Course meal for Dinner Parties - rasmalai

Rasmalai is a delicious Bengali delicacy which would be ideal for dinner parties as it is a combination of sweet creaminess.

It is very popular among sweet lovers and has flattened chana balls absorbing sweet, thick milk for the perfect end to a wonderful dinner party.

Prepare in advance to give yourself more time to make the other two courses and to mingle with your guests.

Every bite is a melt in the mouth moment and is so delicious, anyone who tries it will want to have more.


  • 5 Cups full-fat milk
  • 3 tsp lemon juice (mix with 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 Litre ice water
For the Sugar Syrup
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
For the Rabri
  • 3 Cups full-fat milk
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 2 tbsp pistachios/almonds, sliced


  1. Pour three cups milk into a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. When the milk begins to boil add saffron and sugar.
  3. Reduce the heat and stir regularly.
  4. When a layer of cream forms, move the cream aside.
  5. When the milk thickens and reduces, set aside to cool.
  6. Place in the fridge once the milk is cool.
  7. Meanwhile, boil five cups in a pot.
  8. Add the lemon-water mix and stir until the milk curdles completely.
  9. Pour the ice water and set aside for two minutes.
  10. Drain in a muslin cloth over a colander.
  11. Squeeze excess whey and make a knot.
  12. Leave it to hang for 45 minutes to allow the excess whey to drain off.
  13. Transfer to a plate. Knead well for five minutes until smooth.
  14. Make equal-sized balls and flatten into discs. Set aside.
  15. Bring three cups of water to a boil with one cup of sugar. Continue stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Then add cardamom powder.
  16. Gently add the discs to the boiling syrup. Cover and cook for eight minutes.
  17. Remove the discs and place on a plate to cool. Gently squeeze to remove sugar syrup.
  18. Add the discs to the chilled milk. Garnish with chopped nuts.
  19. Chill and when desired, serve and enjoy.

This recipe was inspired by Indian Healthy Recipes.

These recipes should provide a guide on the type of Desi meals which are simple to cook and will please guests.

The recipes can be mixed and matched so that a vegetarian starter will go with a non-vegetarian main. 

If you are hosting a big dinner party, why not make and serve all the options too!

Ultimately the choice is yours, but hopefully, these recipes will make hosting dinner parties an enjoyable Desi experience.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

Images courtesy of Rachna's Kitchen, Indian Healthy Recipes, Spices n Flavours, Archana's Kitchen and Pinterest

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